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Neymar has had a wonderful career in European football with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, but there has been something in common during his time at both clubs.
The Brazilian international has suffered injuries for the past seven and a half years, but there has been a family trend for him to be sidelined in February or March.
Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is his sister’s birthday on March 11, which he managed to attend mid-season between 2015 and 2019.
The 29-year-old will miss the next Champions League tie against Blaugrana this week after a calf injury suffered against Caen in the Coupe de France.
Les Parisiens has not provided a suitable return date, but it has been reported that he could be out for at least a month with the reverse.
This can still be considered pure coincidence. We analyze seven previous occasions in which Neymar has curiously missed games in February and March.
February 2015: suspension for yellow card
The 2014/15 season was the campaign where Neymar made himself known on the European stage. The attacker formed an impressive partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, affectionately called ‘MSN,’ and capped off a good season with the third goal in a 3-1 Champions League final victory over Juventus.
Long before the club’s treble, Neymar picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Granada on February 28 and subsequently missed a 6-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on March 8 with a one-game penalty. The Blaugrana allowed him to return to Brazil for his sister’s birthday on March 11, but no one would have predicted that this would become a regular trend.
March 2016: case similar to 2015
The following campaign saw an almost identical scenario when he received his fifth yellow card during the league game against Rayo on March 3. While he was only expected to miss one game against Eibar on March 6, the forward obtained permission from the then manager. Luis Enrique and the four captains of Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Sergi Busquets and Javier Mascherano to go to Brazil to see Rafaella in time for her Disney themed birthday party.
– MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) March 9, 2016
March 2017: adductor injury
Neymar started in March 2017 when he made a stellar performance against Paris Saint-Germain in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Miraculous fashion with a 6-1 win at the Camp Nou.
The forward put the game in favor of the Blaugrana with a 10-minute streak of individual brilliance in which he scored two goals and delivered the free kick for Sergi Roberto’s last gasp of goal. Immediately after the game, he did not enter the squad to face Deportivo with an adductor injury that gave him time to return to Brazil. The blaugrana would go on to be eliminated by Juventus in the quarterfinals in his absence.
February 2018: Broken metatarsal
Just a few months after his heroics in Barcelona, Neymar moved to Les Parisiens in a world record transfer. The French champions suffered a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 at the Bernabéu and shortly after the match it was confirmed that the forward was out due to a fracture in a toe and a sprained ankle.
While Les Parisiens were already losing in the European tie, they were eliminated from the competition in his absence following a 2-1 loss at the Parc des Princes. Before the inverted leg, he returned home for surgery and would have obviously spent time with his sister. He was able to recover in time for the 2018 World Cup with Brazil, which was ousted in the last eight stages.
January 2019: metatarsal outbreak
In January 2019, Neymar suffered a recurrence of the metatarsal injury in a French Cup clash against Strasbourg. The Brazilian was ruled out for the knockout stages of the Champions League against Manchester United and that didn’t stop him from partying on his birthday (February 5) in a bright crimson jacket and matching crutches alongside players like Kylian Mbappé and Dani Alves.
🇧🇷🎊🎉 EEEEEEEEEEEEE, STOPPED NOT DANCING!
And on the anniversary of @Neymar Jr in Paris, so go dancing! Mbappé, Wesley Safadão, Medina and Daniel Alves! Ahhhhh, if the apprentice could be there …
📽 – Instagram / David Brasil pic.twitter.com/LaUHxavMgW
– FOX Sports Brasil (from 🏠) (@FoxSportsBrasil) February 5, 2019
Things looked bright for Les Parisiens when they managed a 2-0 win over United in the first leg. However, no one would have predicted the outcome of the second leg where the Red Devils won 3-1 after a last-gasp penalty scored by Marcus Rashford following a Presnel Kimpembe hand that was awarded by the VAR. United won with the away goal rule and the shock on Neymar’s face, who was on the bench, has become a classic GIF and meme.
February 2020: Neymar’s birthday and rib injury
After six years, Neymar stayed in France in February of last year, but that did not stop him from having a birthday party with several colleagues in an all-white dress code. The celebrations took place 48 hours before the weekend’s game against Nantes on February 4. Still, he was not in the squad for the match with manager Thomas Tuchel confirming a rib injury.
February 2020: another suspension
Neymar was sanctioned with a second yellow card in the league triumph 4-3 over Bordeaux and coincided with the carnival party in Brazil. Interestingly, before the game, the forward confirmed that this time there would be no controversy and that he would miss the Rio Carnival for the first time in six years.
Neymar confirms that the Rio Carnival is lost for the first time in six years 😂
(via NeymarJR / Instagram) pic.twitter.com/4VnYAAuRyG
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 21, 2020
That was the case when the Brazilian remained injury-free and played the Champions League round of 16 against Borussia Dortmund, where the club came out of a deficit in the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate. Neymar’s career has not been short of speculation, especially at this point in the calendar year.
He had the sheer bad luck of being injured in February and will be missed in the crunchy European tie against Barcelona, where many fans eagerly awaited his showdown against his close friend Messi for the first time since the Club World Cup. FIFA 2011. final when he was still in the ranks of Santos.